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Bahrain Testing Day 2: Sainz puts Ferrari on top

Bahrain Testing Day 2: Sainz puts Ferrari on top

Bahrain Testing Day 2: Sainz puts Ferrari on top

Carlos Sainz topped the timing sheets at the end of the second day of Formula 1‘s pre-season testing in Bahrain as Ferrari showed some pace.

It was a decent day for the Scuderia as Charles Leclerc was the fastest driver in the morning session that ended prematurely with a Red Flag after the Monegasque hit a drain cover at Turn 11.

Ferrari changed the floor of the SF-24 ahead of the afternoon session that was brought one hour earlier and extended to five hours with an extra ten minutes added for a safety car and race control systems check.

Leclerc was also given some more time in the car to make up for the time he lost in the morning and before handing over the driving duties to his teammate.

Enrico Cardile, Ferrari Head of Chassis Area explained the damage on the SF-24 floor, he said: “The damage was on a small portion of the floor, nothing too worrying, we changed the floor and proceeded with our plan – no drama.”

Asked about how the new Red single seater has been behaving, Cardile kept things vague, he responded: “In terms of driver feedback, they are well aligned – we didn’t find any bad surprises, so that is a good starting point.”

Sainz who posted a time of 1:29.921, who set his time on the C4 Pirelli compound, was only a couple of tenths shy of Max Verstappen’s 2023 Bahrain pole. He completed 84 laps.

Sainz said of the SF-24: “First impressions, positive. The car is doing what we wanted it to after the wind tunnel work. More drivable car, with wind sensitivity and predictability and drivability of the car…. For me, it’s more focus on the long runs.

“You saw last year we had some poles so,” he added, hinting that Ferrari’s focus was on improving their race pace, a problem which they suffered off in 2023.

Leclerc: Red Bull are still quite far ahead

Leclerc who was sixth fastest overall at the end of the day echoed his teammate’s car drivability comments, he said: “My initial feeling is that Red Bull are still quite far ahead. I think our drivability will help us, in terms of race runs and tyre degradation, I think we are in a better place.”

Ferrari where the only team who gave their driver from the AM session some PM time, as other teams stuck to their initial testing plans. The team racked up a total of 138 laps between both drivers.

Up next was Sergio Perez in the Red Bull RB20, second fastest and 0.758s off the pace of Sainz albeit on the harder C3 compound.

The Mexican racked up 129 laps over the course of the day and survived a couple of scares. The first when his brakes caught fire in the morning.

As for the second issue, and less than three hours, from the end of the day, Perez slowed down on track and limped back into the pits, replay showing a rough-sounding RB20 losing power. But he was back out on track soon after what seemed to be a quick fix for the reigning Champions.

Red Bull did not seem to be chasing lap times on Day 2 of testing, but the RB20 remained as the best looking car out there, performance-wise of course, as Sainz beat Verstappen’s Day 1 topping time by almost 1.5s.

Lewis Hamilton joins the action

Seven-time F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton was third fastest in the Mercedes, a marked improvement for the eight-time Constructors’ Champions compared to day one, despite the W15 being out of shape as some point. However, the Briton who drove a 123 laps around Sakhir Circuit, was over one second slower than Sainz, also noting that his best time was set on the C3 Pirellis.

Among the top ten finishers, Sainz was the only driver to set his best time on the red-banded Pirelli tyres.

Lando Norris, who shared driving duties with Oscar Piastri in the McLaren MCL38 was fourth fastest overall, 1.335s off the pace with 52 laps. Piastri added 35 laps in the morning shift and was tenth fastest overall.

McLaren still seem to be a mystery, but they are definitely entering the 2024 F1 season in much better shape compared to last year.

Daniel Ricciardo, in the VCARB 01 posted the fifth fastest time, a 1:31.361, 1.440s off the pace with 88 laps on the board. Teammate Yuki Tsunada made RB’s lap tally 128 with his morning running and was 17th fastest overall.

Lance Stroll was driving the Aston Martin AMR24 in the after noon and added 96 laps to Fernando Alonso’s 31 in the morning. The Canadian was seventh fastest, over two seconds off the pace. Alonso was 12th fastest overall.

Esteban Ocon’s best lap was a 1:32.061, good enough for eighth fastest. The Frenchman accumulated 77 laps, while teammate and compatriot Pierre Gasly managed 33 laps in the AM and ended the day 14th fastest overall.

Valtteri Bottas was ninth fastest for Sauber, 2.306s off the pace putting in 97 laps. Teammate Zhou Guanyu was 13th fastest overall and drove 38 laps in the shortened morning session.

Logan Sargeant who was the solo Williams driver on Day 2 of testing was 11th fastest and enjoyed a fruitful day with 117 laps.

Haas had Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg sharing driving duties, the pair finishing 15th and 16th fastest respectively with a combined lap total of 124 laps.

Verstappen, Alex Albon and George Russell watched the action from the pits.

Bahrain testing Day 2: Times and lap count